Chess and table tennis for Vibha!
Well organized. Excellently planned. Top competition. These were some of the words buzzing around the stands and grounds on the 24th of March, 2012 at Vibha’s annual charity chess and table tennis tournament at South Forsyth Middle School gymnasium in Forsyth County. The tournament raises funds for projects supporting underprivileged children in India.
This year for the first time, the event was organized entirely by Vibha Youth. As Youth Lead Neeraja Sarda put it, “No hurdles were too big for our group of dedicated volunteers this year. As soon as we had our first meeting, a location was set, plans were made, leads were assigned, and a date was chosen. When our first venue brought up unsolvable problems, we stayed in touch so that once South Forsyth Middle School was finalized; we were ready to pounce into action with publicity and registrations.”
From the bold move to change the name from Khel Mela to a more encompassing Dream Play, designed to encourage participation of people from various ethnic groups, and from door to door registrations all the way to mass emailing every week, these were some of the tasks Vibha Youth focused on to make the trademark event a success. They informed high school and middle school clubs and used Facebook and Twitter. They bought trophies and awards and printed the final registration list, and managed remarkably, even after a delay due to the change in venue, losing two weeks of precious time.
Photo: The youth volunteers.
The parent coordinator, Priti Sarda, added, “I was amazed to see that these students who are typical teenager in their behavior, are really talented, and can do anything when you just direct them a little... it was they who managed everything... they were having so much fun while doing all this... but it was their efforts behind the smoothly run event.”
This left an impact on many of the members of Vibha Youth, including Amala who said, “Becoming a leader allowed me to see the potential that every Vibha volunteer has, no matter what age.” And the main goal was never out of sight: creating brighter futures for underprivileged children around the world.
The chess tournament was held in K-3, K-6, K-9, K-12 and open categories, where many passionate chess players had an opportunity to shine. Steve Schneider, founder and director of the chess school Championship Chess and author of the Scholastic Chess Series, helped coordinate the tournaments.
Almost seventy children and adults attended. The tournament used the standard Swiss-system format, which allows everyone, including those who have lost matches, to continue rounds till the end of the tournament, and the fact that it was unrated allowed for improvement. The primary and elementary school divisions played a fast chess game in which players were assigned other partners as soon as their match ended. They did not have to wait for everyone else to finish before they could play their next match, as in most tournaments. This allowed participants to play unlimited matches, the focus being on excellence rather than victory. The open category was built on the idea of sudden death (SD/30), meaning each player had a maximum of 30 minutes to play a match until the result was announced as a win or a tie.
Awards for excellence went to Pranav Potluri and Sanjay Shajith for showing good technique, temperament, and strategy; they are in Kindergarten and First Grade. Siddharth Vijay won the K-3 division; Eeshwar Potluri was runner up. Ainesh Balaga and Sid Balaga were co-champions for K-6, and Tejas Mirthipati was runner up. The K-9 category champion was Rithvik Sarasani, and in the hotly competed Open category, Shyam Dasari was deservedly handed the cup while the runner up trophy was presented to Srini Baddam.
The table tennis event brought in almost fifty people. Players did not fail to impress, but kept the audience engaged throughout.
The Men’s Singles was a showcase for skill: in an intense showdown Vasudev Kallapur won against Krishna Venkatesh. After several rounds, the trio of Suresh Kanchusthambham, Vasudev Kallapur, and Srinivasarao Kanchusthambham emerged as victors over runnersup Krishna Venkatesh, Satish Vasa, and Vinay Uchil in the TT Team Final. In the entertaining match-up in the Men’s Doubles finale, Suresh Kanchusthambham and Vasudev Kallapur triumphed over Srinivasarao Kanchusthambham and Vinay Uchil, thus sealing Vasudev Kallapur’s excellent showing in the tournament, being part of the winning team in all three men’s contests.
The women’s and youth playoffs were no less spectacular. In the battle for the Women’s Singles trophy, victory was awarded to Archana Athalye, who won against 2009 finalist Rinku Singhal. The Mixed Doubles final was no less than nail-biting, where Archana and Mahesh Athalye pulled through to clinch the cup against second place Pallavi and Vaibhav Sathe. In the finals of the Under-15 Cup, in an electric match, Yagnik Tadavarthi won against Chetan Velivela.
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